A strong double-digit growth in foreign tourist arrivals, rise in the number of domestic leisure, corporate travel and recovery in the hotel business are prompting global chains to bring more top-end luxury brands to India. Leading chains like Marriott and Accor are getting ready to roll out more such brands here. Marriott International, which acquired Starwood Hotels a year ago and is now the largest branded hotel chain in India and globally, says it is considering adding more upscale brands to its existing fifteen brands in India. “We will bring more brands here but also grow the ones we have here already. I would like to see an Edition and Bvlgari hotel in upscale Delhi and Mumbai and maybe some other city,” Craig Smith, APAC president and managing director at Marriott, which has 91 hotels in India. Marriott operates premium brands like Westin, Le Meridien, JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton in India. According to its website, the company has only eight operating Bvlgari properties in markets like Dubai, London and Milan among others. Similarly, Edition is operational at nine locations, including New York, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. French hotel major Accor also is in process of bringing high-end brands like Raffles and Banyan Tree to the country. “While we are reviewing opportunities to introduce more of our internationally recognised brands at the appropriate time, we are currently engaged in discussions to bring the Raffles and Banyan Tree brands to leisure locations such as Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa, besides New Delhi and Mumbai,” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer (India & South Asia) at Accor Hotels. Raffles is present at eleven locations globally, including Singapore, Dubai and Paris.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts, the company said, is an oasis for the well-travelled, delivering legendary service since 1887. Each Raffles hotel offers warm and discreet service, delivering emotional luxury to well-travelled guests, he said. Accor has twenty brands globally, of which 10, including Pullman, Sofitel, Novotel are present in India. The company operates fifty hotels in India. India offers some of the finest luxury hotels in the world and unique destinations and heritage, which appeal to the luxury traveller, both domestic and international, said Casse.Raj Rana, chief executive officer (South Asia) at Carlson Rezidor, says international chains keen examining the brands in their stable on a regular basis as customer expectations are changing in India. “We are watching the prospects in the top-end luxury market,” he said.